Technically, there is no Redwoods National Park. Instead there’s a general region entitled Redwood National and State Parks. But even so, there is no one spot you can drive to because the parks are scattered along 40 miles of coastline, prairies, rivers, and ancient forests that are managed by the state and national parks systems. It’s actually quite confusing for people who are not from the area, but don’t worry, because I’ve got you covered! The area includes Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and Prairie Creek State Park. All of these parks span for acres and acres and the exploration opportunities are truly unlimited.
If you’re looking more for a scenic drive through groves of redwoods, I recommend Del Norte and Jedediah Smith. It’s still worth pulling over and going on a walk, even if just for a short while, but you can get a pretty good sense of the magnificence of the trees from the safety and warmth of your van. For excellent hiking trails, definitely visit Prairie Creek! Some of the trees there are over a thousand years old. It is also home to some of the tallest trees in the world. My personal favorite part of Prairie Creek is Fern Canyon: a narrow gorge lined hundreds of feet high with prehistoric ferns and mosses. The first Jurassic Park was actually filmed there and that’s the exact feeling you’ll get walking through and looking up at the canyon walls. My recommendation is to follow the creek in as far as you can, past all of the fallen stumps, because it gets narrower and wilder as you go in.
The parks aren’t limited to forests, though. They also contain several beaches on the Humboldt and Del Norte Coast. They all have that northern California feel to them—big waves, rocky cliffs, stunning turquoise water, dark sand, and hardly any other people around.
Location: Redwood National and State Parks